The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Kellen Keiser and the $20,000 lamb 2009.09.16

Written by David Green.


That must be some lamb to command a sale price of this magnitude.

Not really. Instead, it’s one special kid who owned that lamb—Kellen Keiser, a freshman at Fayette High School.kellen.keiser.bed.jpg

Swanton Machine and Welding paid $5,500 at the Fulton County Fair junior livestock sale last week—not bad when a typical lamb might fetch $350—but that was just the beginning.

Once the bidding ended and a winner was declared, the other bidders also wanted in on the action.

“After the first person bought it, others held up their cards and said, ‘We’re going to donate our bid, also,” explained sales manager Curt Johnson. “It just snowballed.”

And the reason for this flow of cash? It’s to assist the Keiser family financially as Kellen battles leukemia.

“Kellen’s grandpa, Mick Schaffner, asked if he could get a group together to buy the lamb,” said Kellen’s mother, Tina.

Ken Wagner organized a collection of area residents who pledged $1,250—a sum they thought would be sufficient for a winning bid.

Before the bidding got underway, however, the auctioneer gave a short statement about Kellen’s health and that was enough for Connie Zeiter, wife of Swanton Machine and Welding owner Norm Zeiter.

As Tina heard the story, Connie said, “We need to buy that.”

The bidding ended at $5,500 and then the donations started to flow in. The tally reached about $19,700, Curt said, then someone chipped in to make it an even $20,000.

The final sum from the auction ended around $20,500, but that still wasn’t the end. Tina said a check for $2,000 arrived in the mail Saturday from someone who missed out on the auction.

“It’s quite astounding,” she said, and Curt agrees.

“With something like this, people just open their hearts and wallets,” he said. “People who don’t even know Kellen got involved. That’s the great thing about living in a small, rural community. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this area when something like this happens.”

Kellen’s father Kirk was amazed by all the donations, also, and one in particular.

“After Kellen’s lamb had sold I was sitting in the show arena watching the sale and trying to digest everything that had taken place,” Kirk said. “A friend of Kellen’s from 4-H camp came up and told me he had donated his lamb check to Kellen.

“It was just amazing that this boy wanted to help so much that he gave up his entire check. It makes me feel proud and secure that there are such good kids and loving people in our small community and neighboring ones as well. With the tough time our country is in, it’s amazing and overwhelming just how much everyone wants to help.”

Battling leukemia

Kellen wasn’t feeling well last spring and testing determined that he was suffering from ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia—a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections.

Although childhood cancer isn’t common, ALL is the most prevalent form of the disease in children. The National Cancer Institute describes the treatment of the disease as “one of the great success stories” in fighting cancer. The recovery rate is now very high.

Kellen receives treatment on an out-patient basis, but he isn’t able to attend school and probably won’t be back in the classroom until February, Tina said, after an intense schedule of chemotherapy concludes.

He intends to keep up with his studies through a variety of means. Some friends and relatives bought a laptop computer for him to use at home and teachers are taping some class sessions.

There’s also an effort underway to connect Kellen to school via a webcam, and some students are offering to serve as tutors.

His tutors will have to be in good health due to his compromised immune system. That condition really limits his contact with friends. He was back in the hospital last week due to a bacterial infection.

As the livestock auction proceeded at the fairgrounds, Kellen was at St. Vincent hospital in Toledo, leaving his 11-year-old sister, Emilie, to show the lamb.

“His poor sister did all the work,” Tina said, since Kellen’s illness was diagnosed about the time he started his fair project.

Kellen missed the big sale, but he’s delighted with the results.

“The thing that made him the happiest was learning he made more than the Grand Champion,” Tina said.

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